European Parliament elections will be held on May 23 and May 26, 2019. This will be the bloc's first election without the U.K. and nearly 450 million voters have the right to vote in 27 EU member states. On average, the rate of participation in elections hovers at 40 percent. Participation in European Parliament elections in 2014 was 43.1 percent. In the upcoming vote, 705 deputies will be elected. It will be fascinating to see how interested the EU will be in the elections in 2019 when the U.K. is no longer a member.
With the end of 2018 approaching, political parties have started preparing for the election. First, the candidates at the top the list will be determined. On Nov. 8, 2018, the European People's Party (EPP), the Christian parliamentary group, the largest group in the European Parliament, elected Manfred Weber as number one in the list.
European Social Democrats have also identified their candidates. European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans is the number one candidate for the Social Democrats. In the absence of a candidate against him, the election is a guaranteed win for the Social Democrats in European Congress in Lisbon on Dec. 7 and Dec. 8.
Weber and Timmermans are also candidates for the presidency of the European Commission. Since EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who apparently spoke while drunk at a recent NATO summit, announced that he would not continue and if there are not any unforeseen obstacles, Weber seems to be the favorite. Why? The answer is very simple: The EPP will be the most powerful group in the European Parliament. This is the result of all opinion polls.
The liberals are also very happy to have the party of French President Emmanuel Macron La Republique en Marche joined in their ranks.
The European Green Party (EGP), especially since it is now the second-largest party in Germany, is very ambitious. On Nov. 23 and 25, 2018, two European names will be announced, one of which will be Ska Keller.
Up until now, we have talked about "normal" parties. But the real question is: What will the right-wing and racist parties do? The answer to that question is not pleasant. The right-wing and racist parties, which already have about 100 seats, will have many more parliamentarians in 2019. This trend is not good for European democracy.
For example, in European Parliament elections, which will be held on May 26, 2019 in Germany, the Alternative for Germany (AfD) will likely receive between 14 percent and 20 percent of the vote. I am afraid they will be successful. No one should be surprised if the newly elected members of parliament from the AfD reach between 15 and 20. Remember, currently a National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD) member is in the European Parliament representing Germany. In other words, those who have no problem with the past that has shamed humanity will increase in number.
For this reason, European Parliament elections in 2019 will be a crucial period for the defense of democracy in Europe. It is very painful to see people who have problems with human values taking seats inside the very parliament that exists to protect EU values.
For this reason, all European democrats, whether they are Christians, Muslims Jews or atheists, must vote in this election. A low voter turnout will only increase racist and far-right parties' chances of success.
In this respect, it is important that Weber is the candidate for European Christian democrats in Germany. Likewise, it is also good that social democrats have chosen a beloved politician in Germany as the top of the list.
Federal Justice Minister Katarina Barley is the right name for both Germany and Europe. A liberal member of parliament, Nicola Beer, who I have hosted in Adana in the past, is also the right name for the Free Democratic Party's (FDP) list. In Germany, the Greens, who might gain 20 to 22 seats in parliament, is also participating with very successful candidates. This will increase the interest for the elections.
Unfortunately, there are no Muslim candidates in either Germany or other European countries, with the exception of Holland, for the European Parliament. Christian democrats, social democrats, the Greens and liberals have failed on this issue. However, I still have hope.
At least there can be an independent list in Germany, which consists of people responsible and aware of democracy. Not having done so before in large numbers in the past, this list could inspire Muslim voters to go to the ballot box and perhaps block a party like the NPD from gaining a seat in parliament. Why not? In the European Parliament elections to be held in 2019, we can claim democracy and at least stand against the rise of the extreme right and racists. In the elections, we can at least say "stop" to the rise of extreme-right politics and racists by protecting the values of democracy. We must do this for the future of Europe.